Be The Influencer: Why You May Be Your Most Valuable Marketing Asset in 2020
It seems like just yesterday that influencer marketing was the shiny new toy that every marketer just had to have. Nearly a decade later, the influencer marketing landscape isn’t quite the bed of roses it initially seemed to be. Laws have been passed, scandals have damaged reputations and brands have lost more than a billion dollars on fraudulent “influencers.” Yikes, right?
Not so fast. Whether you’re selling skin creams or legal services, influencer marketing can still be an important piece of your integrated marketing plan in 2020… you just may need to rethink your notion of what an influencer is and who they can be.
Breaking the influencer illusion
When you hear the term “influencer,” a very specific image probably comes to mind; they’re probably some mysteriously wealthy person who seems to have all the time in the world to travel, play and eat their way through life. They’re always in the perfect setting, in the perfect outfit holding a new product juuuust right. They have millions of followers and they probably look like Kylie Jenner or Chris Evans.
This hyper-elite model of envy-inducing influencers may have been the modus operandi for a while, but as social media has expanded and evolved, the nature of influence has changed right along with it. If you want to envision what the perfect influencer for your brand may look like, just look in the mirror.
Allow us to explain.
Putting your people into your marketing
Everyone understands the importance of social media, but how social media actually works remains misunderstood. Typically, people don’t log on to read mission statements or watch corporate anthem videos. They log on to be inspired and entertained by real people.
Think about it — why do you choose to follow or Like pages on social media? You might follow a bar you like to go to or even your car technician who always posts helpful tips and funny memes, but you’re less likely to follow a local insurance salesperson who does nothing but post links to articles about insurance. The difference is the lack of personal connection and giving the audience nothing to relate to.
At its core, a successful brand relies on personification; a sophisticated fusion of traits, choices and values that turns a company or product into something bigger and more resonant. And when branding elements are reinforced by a real person (or, even better, a diverse group of people united by a core purpose), your brand can take on a life of its own.
Influencers work because they are, in a sense, real people. When your brand’s social media relies 100% on corporate goals and stock graphics, people have nothing to connect with and no reason to follow you. You’re not offering them anything they want, nor are you relating to them in a way that inspires a real connection.
Real People + Quality Content = Influencer marketing done right
You don’t need to fund someone’s luxury vacation just to win social media followers. With a well-defined brand identity, a clear purpose, and a strong personal network, you can use influencer marketing principles to empower your brand online.
Let’s unpack how it’s done.
- Develop your brand identity: Your brand is more than your logo. It’s how you present yourself to the world. It’s the colors and words you use, and the ones you don’t. It’s your attitude, it’s your perspective; it’s a reflection of your purpose. Working with a branding expert who takes the time to get to know you and your personality can help you put together a brand identity that’s both effective and true to who you are and what you want to accomplish.
- Create a content strategy: What is the best way for you and your brand to resonate with followers? Will memes and hot takes work with your business model? How can blogs help you stay in the conversation? A strong content strategy will help you plan and develop the assets that fuel your online presence.
- Make the marketing work for you: Working with your marketing team or specialist, develop a plan for making your content live well beyond the initial date of publication. In each high-quality blog, video, or infographic, there are a wealth of engagement opportunities that should extend past the piece itself. Maybe your blog can inspire a short vlog that covers some of the same topics, or maybe you can break out talking points from your web content into a series of memes or graphics that drill down on key points..
- Use your personal brand to build your professional brand: Social media is about people, not companies. Unless you’re a huge corporation or a lifestyle brand, people are unlikely to follow your pages if the real people behind it don’t tap into their inner-influencer. Your marketing content should empower and extend your personal brand, slowly but surely enabling your brand’s platforms to take on a life of its own.
How Thiessen Law Firm puts this principle into practice
We know that this vision of influencer marketing works because we’ve put it in action for one of our clients: Thiessen Law Firm. Over the past few years, Thiessen Law Firm has gained more than 9,000 followers on Facebook alone, with each post reaching 1,000+ highly engaged audience members. This growth didn’t happen by accident.
An early believer in the power of digital marketing, Thiessen Law Firm worked with us to develop a high-value blogging strategy and online persona bolstered by Mark Thiessen’s own personality and personal friends. Whenever a blog was written, Mark would share it on his pages, adding his unique commentary and casually directing his personal followers to join the conversation on his professional page.
Thiessen Law Firm has also always believed that humor helps us connect with one another, even (or especially) stressful moments. Along with making us laugh, Thiessen Law Firm uses humor to underpin the fact that we are all human, that one bad decision shouldn’t always define you, and that the firm both recognizes and knows how to highlight that idea without being flippant.
Using our client’s personal brand as a jumping-off point, we developed blogs and social media content that worked equally well for our client’s personal and professional brands; content that communicated both Thiessen’s powerful humor and even more powerful skill in the courtroom. Combining these strategic marketing assets with the efficacy of personal influence enabled Baal & Spots to develop effective marketing channels that continue to create real business opportunities out of the fans and followers of our client’s business.
We’ve got the strategies, you’ve got you. Let’s make magic.
Even when you’re the biggest influencer behind your brand’s success, you still need the high-level strategies and quality assets to turn your fans and followers into clients and advocates. At Baal & Spots, we see the intersection between personal and digital, and will work closely with you to build an online brand experience that drives real-world results.
Whether your personal brand is still developing or well-defined, Baal & Spots offers the value-adding strategies and assets to help you take your online persona to the next level. Together, we’ll work to craft a resonant voice and tone and develop a timely content plan reinforced by blogging, social media, video and paid search — all backed by effective SEO strategies to help your new audience discover what you have to offer.
Ready to use your own strengths to fuel marketing that actually works? Let’s talk.